MIL-OSI Translation: Athens Declaration on Climate Change and Environment in the Mediterranean


MIL OSI Translation. Government of the Republic of France statements from French to English –

The countries of the South of the European Union, Cyprus, Croatia, Spain, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Slovenia, meeting on September 17, 2021 in Athens at the level of heads of State and government, with the participation of the President of the European Commission, underline their firm common conviction that urgent and ambitious international action is more necessary than ever, at national, regional and local level, with the participation of all actors, in particular from civil society and the private sector, to face the worsening climate and environmental crisis and to build a sustainable, equitable, prosperous and secure future, based on circular economy models, for our societies in the 21st century.

Southern European Union countries:

Climate change

– Reaffirm their firm commitment to implement the Paris Agreement and their support for the objective of limiting the rise in the temperature of the planet to 1.5 ° C above pre-industrial levels, as well as their commitment to achieve to climate neutrality by 2050, in compliance with European climate law and the European Union’s objective of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 , compared to 1990.- Take note with concern of the Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, published on 9 August 2021, which underlines the urgency of a stronger response to climate change to limit the rise in the temperature of the planet below 1.5 ° C compared to pre-industrial levels – Recall the Declaration of the Secretary-General of the United Nations of 9 August 2021, according to which there is an imminent risk that the planet will exceed the threshold 1.5 ° C very soon nt. The only way to prevent this risk from materializing is to urgently step up our efforts and embark on a more ambitious path by actively acting to limit the rise in temperature to 1.5 ° C. thanks to the Italian presidency of the G20 for its work which raises the level of ambition in this area, on a global scale, and welcomes the conclusions of the ministerial meeting on climate and energy held in Naples.- Recognize that the Mediterranean is very vulnerable to the effects of climate change because it is exposed to extreme weather phenomena, and that it is already experiencing longer, more frequent and more severe episodes of heat waves, droughts, heavy rainfall , floods and forest fires. As a result, the region is already suffering unprecedented ecological damage and the response capacities are reaching their limits.- Stress that this vulnerability will continue to worsen due to the acceleration of the effects of climate change in the region, with as a corollary a loss of quality of life due to the effects of climate change, now and in the future. In this context, these effects and climate coherence must be taken into account when developing and implementing EU climate and energy policies, and be given their due place, so that our countries are not disadvantaged in the context of climate change – Acknowledge the need to implement critical adaptation and resilience measures that are in line with the new EU strategy for adaptation to climate change, as well as that cross-cutting preventive measures in all sectors, including environmental and socio-economic ones, likely to be affected by climate change in the Mediterranean region, since the effects of climate change pose serious threats to the environment, society and economy. – Decide to intensify multilateral cooperation through the exchange of experiences and good practices in the planning and implementation of adaptation and prevention measures necessary to reduce risks at national, regional and local levels, with the participation of all stakeholders, including public authorities, civil society and businesses – Emphasize the need to initiate an active dialogue and promote joint initiatives and responses from all Mediterranean States by adopting a regional approach to to the climate crisis as an extension of EU action. – To this end, commit themselves to the objectives of the Green Deal for Europe and to legislative progress within the framework of the “Adjustment to Objective 55” package. – Underline the need to study the following principles during the duration of the negotiations of this package: ensure decarbonization, social equity and technological neutrality, and support innovation and industrial transitions, while taking into account the efforts already made – Support the principle a carbon adjustment mechanism at the borders, a climate measure that effectively mitigates the risks of carbon leakage in full compliance with the rules of the World Trade Organization – Commit to the protection of heritage cultural and natural environment of the Mediterranean threatened by the effects of climate change, by taking active measures and supporting the initiative on combating the effects of climate change launched by Greece during the sum t Climate Action of 2019 and acted by the Secretary General of the United Nations, in which UNESCO, the World Meteorological Organization and the UNFCCC are fully associated. In this context, decide to participate in the pilot project for the protection of cultural and natural heritage under preparation – Stress the need to take the necessary measures to quickly align the flows of public and private investments with the trajectory of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building resilience to climate change in order to accelerate the establishment of low-carbon and climate-resilient infrastructure – Recognize the need for concerted action to address the vulnerabilities that arise from the poor connectivity between the Mediterranean and the European continent – Decide to work closely together to establish synergies that promote the necessary transition between fossil fuels and low carbon technologies through significant public engagement in their planning and deployment, ensuring especially with respect for natural ecosystems. – Decide to play an active role in international communication on the specific vulnerability of the Mediterranean region to the climate, stressing the importance of the link between maritime spaces and climate and the need to bring it to the fore in the context of the climate action. – Decide to promote nature-based solutions for adaptation to climate change and to ensure adequate protection, in particular of essential ecosystems for the prevention of natural disasters, in particular coastal areas, freshwater basins, areas wetlands, forests and urban areas.- Recognize the fundamental role of maritime spaces in sustaining life on Earth and the significant tensions to which maritime spaces are subject, in particular due to climate change. Take note of the need to strengthen measures for the conservation and protection of maritime areas and undertake to protect at least 30% of the planet’s maritime areas by 2030, as well as to strengthen adaptation related to these areas .- Recognize that with the effects of climate change on reducing groundwater flow and recharge, as well as increasing pressure for use, water scarcity will intensify, especially in the southern and eastern regions which already face limited resources, and a growing number of people are at risk of water stress – In view of the COP 26 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, underline the need for all Parties to adopt ambitious goals in a coherent and balanced way and commit to implementing them, and will discuss with the EU and other partners to enable the CO P 26 to achieve the most ambitious results, in accordance with the EU’s “Adjustment to Goal 55” package.- Stress again that the climate crisis constitutes a global threat which requires concerted international action, and therefore urge all countries to act together and without delay as called by the Secretary General of the United Nations in his statement of August 9.- In this regard, call on all international partners, in particular the G20 countries, to ratify the ” Paris Agreement and raise their level of ambition by communicating ambitious nationally determined contributions – Recognize their commitment to rapidly scale up the deployment of technologies and measures that accelerate the transition by relinquishing capabilities exclusively dependent on coal – Call on all countries to participate in the COP 26 of the UNFCCC at the level of heads of state and government and to commit r achieve the goal of climate neutrality by 2050.


– Recognize that habitat loss and degradation, further aggravated by the effects of climate change, threaten this unique risk area of ​​the Mediterranean region in terms of marine biodiversity and endemism – Underline the urgent need to take action measures to address these long-term effects on the region’s biodiversity and ecosystems and consequently the need for in-depth changes aimed at restoring biodiversity by 2030, in line with the EU Strategy for biodiversity by 2030.- Commit to take measures to extend and better manage the network of protected areas of the EU, contributing to the objective of protecting 30% of the land and sea surface of the ‘EU by 2030, of which a third under rigorous protection thanks to collective action carried out by all the countries participating in this concerted effort, taking into account national situations. ” integration of biodiversity into all sectoral policies as an essential prerequisite for a green and sustainable recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic. – Commit to lead by example in the fight against the global biodiversity crisis and, in view of the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, to work towards an ambitious and effective post-2020 global biodiversity framework – Decide to cooperate in the implementation strong and effective implementation mechanisms as well as harmonized frameworks for monitoring, reporting and reviewing biodiversity – Recognize the importance of the conclusions of the World Conservation Congress International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), held in Marseille in September 2021, which underline that climate and biodiversity emergencies are not distinct but constitute two aspects of the same crisis requiring mutually reinforcing responses and objectives, so as to place nature at the top of the priorities of international action and to lay the foundations for a global strategy for biodiversity, which is essential for proper functioning ecosystems and humanity.


– Recognize the harmful long-term effects of forest fires on the biodiversity and ecosystems of the Mediterranean region, which threaten species, modify the hydrological and geomorphological characteristics of watersheds and accentuate land degradation, in particular severe soil erosion .- Recognize that forest management must be based on the diversification of species and provenances, adapted to future climatic conditions, and on the diversification of forest structures and those of stands. old trees under strict protection – Recognize the global importance and major role of ecosystem services and green infrastructure, as well as the essential function of forests in regulating the water and carbon cycle as well as in mitigation of climate change – Emphasize the need to continue to promote ir sustainable management of forests, strengthen the multifunctional role of forest ecosystems and ensure their protection and restoration by putting in place effective mechanisms for this purpose. Further stress the need to implement adequate reforestation projects and, in this regard, undertake to take measures aimed at increasing the quantity, quality and resilience of forests, in particular by contributing to the commitment to plant at least 3 billion more trees in the EU by 2030, in full compliance with ecological principles – Recognize that coordinated, comprehensive and coherent strategies are urgently needed to adapt forests to climate change – Believe in this regard that the new EU forestry strategy adopted by the Commission in July 2021 can support regional and national actions – Commit to invest the necessary resources, to exploit the best scientific knowledge available and mobilize companies to plan forest clean-ups, create firebreaks and deploy all effective national and local measures in forest fire prevention, using IT and digital economy tools – Decide to initiate planning based on local communities and implement disaster risk management based on local communities scientific knowledge relating to ecosystems, to prevent risks linked to climatic hazards, to share experiences and to cooperate in the development of risk reduction measures – Encourage the sharing of technologies and experiences for the restoration of ecosystems and the restoration of degraded areas in and outside protected areas, as well as the formulation of initiatives that contribute to the connectivity of ecosystems – Support the strategic role of forests and the forestry sector to find solutions allowing to increase the sustainable use of wood products as a substitute for other emission-intensive materials – Decide to promote nature-based solutions for adaptation to climate change and the mitigation of its effects, for the benefit of biodiversity and by ensuring adequate protection, in particular of essential ecosystems for the prevention of natural disasters, in particular coastal areas , freshwater basins, wetlands and forests – Beyond Mediterranean forests, underline the need to fight at EU level against imported deforestation and global forest degradation through a new legislative initiative.

Marine environment / Blue economy

– Recognize the role played by a sustainable blue economy in achieving the objectives of the Green Pact for Europe in the Mediterranean, in particular through investments in innovative green technologies and through increased promotion of the principles of the circular economy – Decide to promote EU blue economy models to make them circular and reduce the environmental, climate and energy footprint of all related coastal activities on land and at sea, with special attention to reducing pollution by plastics – Underline the need to promote a solid EU framework to support the development of the blue economy as well as a more integrated maritime policy – Underline that maritime spatial planning, a political and legal instrument important for a coherent management of the maritime space, constitutes a key component of a sustainable blue economy by facilitating synergies between the economic sectors of the blue economy, while ensuring the protection of the environment and a sustainable use of marine resources – Recognize the added value of the Coalition for an exemplary Mediterranean in 2030 and its action plan accompanied by measures ambitious, as well as their complementarity with the existing institutional frameworks for the protection and sustainable development of the Mediterranean area – Call on all countries to participate actively, at the highest possible level, in the Second United Nations Conference on the Oceans to be held in Lisbon in 2022 (from June 27 to July 1) in order to ensure a strengthening of political commitment and concrete actions, at the global level, towards the achievement of SDG 14. – Strongly support the designation of the Mediterranean Sea as a Sulfur Emission Control Area (SECA) as of March 1, 2024.

Civil protection, prevention and preparedness

– Recognize that the EU Civil Protection Mechanism serves as a framework for cooperation and assistance in the event of a large-scale emergency, which exceeds the capacities of the affected Member States, and stress the importance of preserving and continue to support this mechanism at the institutional, financial and operational level – Call for full implementation of the EU civil protection mechanism and a substantial strengthening of RescEU resources in the Mediterranean, also taking into account capacities and equipment existing in the Member States, in order to provide a European reserve. Call for the acceleration of the constitution of a substantial fleet of firefighting and other planes and helicopters, with Medevac capabilities in order to better protect European citizens as well as the natural environment against more and more disasters. complex, including fires, floods, earthquakes and epidemics, as well as investments in disaster prevention and preparedness capacities – Emphasize the urgent need to strengthen and deepen cooperation between Mediterranean partners , given that the challenges linked to natural disasters share the same profile, are often cross-border in nature and require initiatives in terms of exchanges of experts, lessons learned, good practices, resources and expertise .

In view of the above, while maintaining the existing regional agreements, we decide to further expand the work of the Southern EU Group by organizing sectoral meetings, at all required levels, in a flexible and flexible framework. informal, in order to facilitate effective coordination and exchanges between the nine partners.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.

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